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And There’s the Rub

My continuing conversation with Scott Rose:

Mr. Rose:

You continue to press back against my argument that intellectuals who claim that America is populated by hordes of underpaid workers should demonstrate the legitimacy of their belief by launching their own firms – firms that will profit by hiring these workers. Specifically, you write that “A researcher like Oren Cass can’t be necessarily expected to have the skillset necessary to run a business.”

I completely agree. I do not fault Mr. Cass and other intellectuals for having insufficient entrepreneurial ability, knowledge, and gumption to launch and operate successful firms in the market. I myself lack each of these admirable traits.

But if persons such as Mr. Cass have too little knowledge and ‘feel’ for running actual businesses, what reason is there to trust their claims to have discovered opportunities for businesses to earn profits? I say, “none.”

Of course, persons such as Mr. Cass are unaware that when they claim that the economy is filled with underpaid workers they thereby claim to have discovered opportunities for businesses to earn profits. Their failure to understand the nature and implications of their claim is a failure for which I fault them, for this failure reveals them to know too little about a subject on which they present themselves as knowing much: economics.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030


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